‘DISTRESSING’: Archbishop Desmond Tutu meets Holy Cross pupils yesterday with school principal Anne Tanney PICTURE: Ann McManus The Holy Cross protest may still be suspended for the 11-plus exam – despite the threat of legal action, a residents’ spokeswoman claimed last night. An unidentified parent and her seven-year-old daughter initiated legal proceedings yesterday against Secretary of State John Reid and the police over the protest at Holy Cross Girls Primary School in north Belfast. The parent, who does not wish to be named for security reasons, accused police of failing to identify and arrest protesters for breaking the law. In response to news of the legal action, Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne (CRUA) issued a statement saying it put suspension of the protest in jeopardy. But last night CRUA spokeswoman Anne Bill said that, while the action was not a positive step, Glenbryn residents hoped to go ahead with Friday’s suspension of the protest. “We thought by scaling down the police presence this week we could have deffused the situation which would have led to a suspension of the protest on Friday for the 11-plus,” Ms Bill said. She said she did not believe legal action was being pursued as a last resort by parents and that dialogue between the two communities was the only solution. “I would like to see the protest suspended on Friday; we will continue to work towards achieving that,” she added. Protestant residents in the Glenbryn estate have staged protests since the end of June, objecting to the parents and their children from the neighbouring nationalist Ardoyne walking to school through their area. In a statement issued by solicitors Madden and Finucane last night, the Holy Cross parent claimed in an affidavit that a lack of police action had allowed violence against the children to continue. She said: “This cannot go on any longer, we have tried everything to stop these attacks on our children to no avail.” The parent, according to her solicitors, claimed the erection of screens could have prevented the protesters getting within touching distance of the children. The children and parents had been the victims of numerous serious criminal offences, including death threats, assault, intimidation and abuse, the statement said. Meanwhile, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday met Holy Cross parents and staff, as well as the Glenbryn residents and north Belfast political representatives. Last night parents of the children caught up in the dispute attended a meeting in Westminster to appeal for help to end the long-running hostilities. Pat Monaghan and Gerard McCabe of the Right to Education Group told a meeting of the Friends of Ireland of their five-month ordeal walking their children to school. Following the meeting, the audience of around 80 people signed a petition which is to be sent to the secretary of state saying that the children were not being protected by the police and that their human rights were being breached.